VOLUME 7 • EDITION 4
Late night eating
Eat mini meals
Don't sit close to the TV
OJ prevents colds
Sugar makes you hyper
Microwave radiation harms you
16 health myths that may surprise you
737 Main Street Suite 100 Buffalo, NY 14203 (716) 883-1833 (855) 836-2676 www.milestoneseventh.com
A LETTE R FROM TH E FIR M
Dear Friends, For more than 15 years, our team has partnered with plaintiffs’ attorneys throughout the U.S. In that time, we have come to appreciate the challenges inherent to contingency fee practices.
John T. Bair editorial editor-in-chief
You already insure your practice and manage your after-tax income, often with the help of a trusted advisor. Why wouldn’t you do the same with your own wealth building approach? We have guided attorneys and their families in creating fee deferrals in a solid approach, customizing a pre-tax strategy to work for you, your business and your family.
Stephanie Andre firstname.lastname@example.org
a s s o c i at e e d i t o r
Brittany Monbarren email@example.com
Eva Talley firstname.lastname@example.org
A smart, savvy attorney has this tool in his/her comprehensive wealth management plan. Beginning or renewing a disciplined wealth accumulation approach, no matter the size of your fee, starts you on the right path. Our commitment to you begins with sending you this magazine, Milestone’s Living Safer. Here, you’ll find strategies, tips and advice all focused on helping you and your loved ones live a safer life. We believe that by Living Safer, you can put some of your worries to rest. As always, we are here to help. Your life, your wealth. One fee at a time.
John T. Bair Founder/Member Milestone Consulting, LLC Toll Free: 855.836.2676 www.milestoneseventh.com
i n l i f e , t h e r e c o m e s a t i m e t o m o v e f o r wa r d t o t h e n e x t m i l e s t o n e
Inside This Issue eating
Don't sit close to the TV
Sugar makes you hyper
SPEAKING TO YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT JUVENILE DIABETES
FINANCIAL TIPS FOR NEWLYWEDS
ENDING YOUR ADDICTION TO SUGAR
MAKING SENSE OF LACTOSE INTOLERANCE
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT MATTRESS
OJ revents colds
ON THE COVER
34 Common Health Myths Myths, old wives tales and half-truths continue to have a place in our daily lives. And as generations continue to tell tales, we have to ask ourselves, what’s actually real? It can sometimes be hard to distinguish fact from fiction when it comes to health information, particularly as some of the biggest fallacies are so widespread. Hypochondriacs, rejoice! This issue’s cover story features the truth behind 16 common health myths.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SKIN CANCER DETECTION
STEPS TO ENSURE YOUR FINANCIAL AND IDENTITY SAFETY
THE CHALLENGES OF BULLYING
STUDY: KINDERGARTEN BEHAVIOR LINKED TO ADULT SUCCESS
TECH TRENDS: APPS FOR A HEALTHIER YOU
GADGETRY: TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR HEALTH AND FITNESS
What Do You Want in
Our Next President? by Stephanie Andre
By this time next year, the 2016 Presidential Election will be over and we’ll know who will be standing on the White House balcony come Jan. 20, 2017. 2015 saw a year of strife, violence and intolerance. This term’s crop of presidential candidates vary from toeing the party lines to more radical propositions. With so much unrest, how will you choose to make the right decision for you and your family? What do you think will keep you safe and push our country to prosper? The answer to this question is probably not quick or simple. There’s most likely something you could take from each candidate—regardless of which side of the aisle in which you sit. So, let’s play a game. If you could choose one aspect of each
candidate—to make the “Super President”—how would you do it? Maybe a dash of Rubio here? A touch of Hillary there? Trump’s hair? Bottom line: There isn’t a quick fix. No one has the magical power to wave a wand and fix all that is broken. Consider that as you watch and listen to our candidates in 2016. Do your research. Understand what each candidate stands for and what decisions they are looking to make. Watch the debates. Make educated decisions. One thing is for sure. You need to exercise your right to vote. You need to be part of the solution. Every vote does, in fact, count. Just ask Al Gore and George W. Bush.
@LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 5
Why Hearing Celebs Talk About It Isn’t Enough by Harmony Miller
n the last few years, many celebrity moms have bravely come forward to talk about their struggle with postpartum depression (PPD). Drew Barrymore spoke out about PPD after the birth of her second child; Hayden Panettiere sought professional treatment recently; and Brooke Shields described her struggles after the birth of her first child. Outside of making headlines, why is PPD discussion important? Mental illness still carries stigma in our society and PPD is not yet a disease that is talked about openly. When celebrity moms come forward and admit to struggling with PPD, it starts a conversation: what it is, who might suffer from it, what treatment options are available, why some moms develop it and others don’t. Moms suffering from PPD often feel that they are all alone in their negative thoughts and are afraid to ask for help. It isn’t your fault. You’re not alone. This will get better. Postpartum Support International estimates that 1 in 7 mothers will suffer from PPD. Hormones, lack of sleep, stress, difficulty breastfeeding and the emotional overwhelm that inevitably occurs following birth can contribute to moms developing PPD in those first foggy sleep-deficient weeks or even months after birth. The stress is compounded if baby has an illness or special condition requiring additional care; mom and dad lack social support and/ or have other young children to care for; mom has to return to work before eight to 12 weeks, and has little or no paid maternity leave. But despite its prevalence, PPD remains a taboo topic for many women struggling with intense emotions and unparalleled stress following the birth of their child.
6 / LIVING SAFER / VOL 7 ED 4
What is PPD? PPD may be diagnosed by a woman’s health provider following a depression screening questionnaire, often given to new mothers at set intervals following the birth of their child. PPD is marked by intense and prolonged symptoms including moderate to severe depression, intense anxiety and fear, intense irritability and anger, difficulty bonding with baby, feelings of shame and guilt, and fear of inadequacy as a mother.
What does PPD feel like? Many mothers report feeling hopeless, inadequate in their ability to be a “good” mother, paralyzed by fear and unable to sleep/rest despite being tired. Mothers may report thinking their family would be better off without them. Difficulty breastfeeding may lead moms to feel like failures, like they are hurting their baby, or like they can’t take care of even the baby’s most essential needs. She may feel resentful toward her partner, or even the baby. Some describe PPD as a heavy dark cloud, marked by a feeling of emotional, mental, and/or physical constriction. Mothers may have a difficult time bonding with baby, causing shame for a (perceived) inability to adequately care for her child. An incredibly powerful emotion, shame may prevent women from asking for help because fear of being judged or being labeled a “bad mom.” While the baby blues are nearly universally experienced by mothers in the first few hours and days following birth, PPD is the persistence and progression of the baby blues. The baby blues may result in transient emotional instability marked by crying jags and irritability, but PPD’s symptoms persist, may intensify, and may be accompanied by a loss of interest in daily activities. Some mothers
have reported that only after undergoing treatment for PPD did they realize just how bad they felt in the dense fog of depression and anxiety.
What can be done to help address PPD? Society must remove the stigma associated with PPD. Mothers must feel safe to disclose their feelings and be supported. The medical community must continue to promote awareness. Because a hallmark symptom of depression is withdrawal, support options should be communicated regularly to all mothers. Starting with pre-birth classes and post-birth discharge meetings, efforts to include the family in recognizing symptoms of PPD should be made as well. Recognize that a mother’s symptoms, avoidance, anxiety or fear
is not indicative of her devotion to and love of her baby. Recognize that a mother is on a journey into motherhood, and it’s probably been a difficult journey and much different than she expected. Recognize symptoms and signs of PPD, and help her through the process of seeking help. Finally, recognize that she is doing the best that she can every day. Here’s where brave celebrity moms can help. Reducing shame about PPD and invalidating a mother’s fear that she’s alone in her feelings and a terrible person is one of the first steps toward changing cultural norms. Every well-known woman who admits that she struggles with PPD may encourage another woman to believe that truly she is not alone, it isn’t her fault and things will get better.
PPD: Share Your Story, Empower Yourself by Emily Hawk Mills In an era in which being the next “super mom” is often encouraged and almost expected, there’s rarely a moment in a pregnant woman’s life in which she questions, “Will I have postpartum depression?” While disclosures by celebrities of personal struggles with postpartum depression (PPD) have allowed the conversation to begin, there’s still much to be done. Knowledge and understanding are key and taking control of one’s own symptoms can be not only empowering, but help toward a fix as well. Research by Patrick Corrigan, Psy.D., has shown that revealing your own story—talking about the battles and recovery—to those around you may have a larger impact on the attitudes of people in your daily life than a celebrity’s disclosure, and may have a greater impact long-term. According to Corrigan, this strategy for change—coined “TLC3” (targeted, local, continuous, credable, contact)—appears to be one of the most powerful tools for reducing stigma in the longterm. In short, that means when everyday people talk openly about their struggles and their recovery with other people they encounter in their lives, real attitude change can happen. It is important to share with other women the emotional and mental challenges the come after childbirth to educate and allow new mothers to know that they are not alone on this journey—the road has been travelled before by many other women. As we know, post-pregnancy emotions and depression can differ from mom-to-mom and the exact cause is not known. It’s important to talk about these issues and help others around you understand that there’s no one, quick fix. In fact, depression post childbirth
is often described in three categories: Postpartum Baby Blues, Postpartum Depression and Postpartum Psychosis. Each has its own symptoms, timetable and factors. Here’s a quick comparison: Postpartum Baby Blues: Symptoms can begin within the first two to three days after delivery, and may last for up to two weeks. New moms often experience mood swings, crying spells, anxiety, irritability, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and sadness.
Postpartum Depression: Depression that lasts longer and symptoms that are more severe. Those who struggle with postpartum depression may deal with feelings of hopeless and worthless. In addition, a new mother may have thoughts of hurting herself or the baby.
Postpartum Psychosis: A condition that is rarer but much more severe. A new mother may have hallucinations or attempt to hurt herself or the baby. It is critical that a new mother who is experiencing any psychotic symptoms seek treatment right away, including hospitalization if necessary. It is important for all women and their support systems to know and understand that postpartum depression is not a character flaw or a weakness. If families and new moms are vigilant and recognize the signs and symptoms, treatment is available. Get the word out on these conditions and symptoms. Talk to your friends and family. Talk to your doctor. If you can talk openly about your struggles, real change can happen.
@LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 7
Apps for a Healthier YOU by Brittany Monbarren
It’s time to take your health and wellness into your own hands. With fitness and nutrition apps now readily available at the touch of a button or swipe of the finger, there is no excuse for not achieving the results you’ve always wanted. To help you find an app that best suits you, we’ve narrowed it down—from the hundreds of apps available—to a list of some of the top fitness and nutrition apps on the market today.
Diet and Nutrition
Fitness and Workout
Fooducate helps you eat better, lose weight and be healthy by allowing you to quickly pull up nutritional information about food products by scanning a barcode, as well as helps you understand the nutritional labels. The app gives each food a letter grade from A to D, explains the nutritional label so you know what’s in each product and provides healthier alternatives to better suit your dieting needs.
Sworkit, short for Simply WORK IT, is an app for working out anywhere, anytime. No gym? No time? No problem! The app allows you to choose what part of your body you want to focus on and for how long, and will then generate a workout for you. You don’t need equipment or extra planning.
Too tired to cook? Going out with friends for dinner? HealthyOut is your guide for eating healthy while eating out or even when ordering take out. Just add your location, dietary restrictions and food preferences into the app to find a list of healthy restaurants to choose from, along with recommendations of the healthiest foods on the menu.
MapMyRun by MapMyFitness is designed to assist runners, joggers and walkers of all ability levels and ages by tracking workouts and calorie intake, and provides real-time updates via audio alerts. The app has the ability to track pace, distance, route, elevation and much more. MapMyRun also has social sharing so you can connect with friends or meet new ones! MapMyFitness also has a tracking app for biking called MapMyRide.
The MyFitnessPal app helps you keep a balanced diet and a good exercise regime by functioning as a calorie and nutrients counter. This easy-to-use app has the largest food database of any iOS calorie counter, nutritional information and exercise data entry. MyFitnessPal lets you track your diet and exercise, sets a daily calorie goal for you to reach, and records your daily intake and activities.
Help change the world one workout at a time. Charity Miles is a free app that enables you to earn corporate sponsorships for charity whenever you walk, run or bike. Each mile tracked, the charity of your choice will receive a donation. It really does pay to work out!
@LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 9
Take Control of
Your Health and Fitness by Brittany Monbarren Whether youâ€™re new to the fitness scene, working to improve your health or trying to take your workouts and activities to the next level, these gadgets can help you monitor your health, track your activities, improve your performance and avoid injuries.
Sensoria Smart Socks These smart socks are infused with comfortable textile pressure sensors designed to inform you in real-time when you are striking with the heel or the ball of your foot. Sensoria Smart Socks detect activity as well as running technique, which can lead to less injuries.
GYMWATCH GYMWATCH is a wearable fitness tracker that precisely measures the full range of motion and strength expended in every exercise and provides real-time feedback to help users perform exercises properly.
SmartMat Not all yoga mats are created equally! SmartMat is the worldâ€™s first intelligent yoga mat. The mat has advanced sensor technology that detects your balance and alignment, helping you to improve your form and avoid injuries.
10 / LIVING SAFER / VOL 7 ED 4
Trace Trace is an advanced fitness and action tracker built for extreme sports like surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding and much more. The tracker is mounted on the board and logs details about your activities, helping improve your performance.
Misfit Shine This waterproof fitness tracker can be worn as a necklace, bracelet, a pendant, and can also fit in your pocket. The Misfit Shine is designed to let you track your movements and activities, as well as monitor your sleeping patterns.
Sportiiiis This fitness gadget is great for cyclists. Sportiiii tracks your heart rate, speed, cadence and power in a real-time, heads-up display. Cyclists, as well as runners, can mount the gadget to their sunglasses and receive their stats with a LED light sensor and voice prompts, allowing you to stay focused on your activity.
Basis Peak Peak is a wearable fitness and sleep tracker. It gives you a complete look at your activity, fitness and sleep, along with smartwatch notifications so you can work towards a better your while staying close to what matters.
Fitbit Aria The Fitbit Aria is not your average weight scale. This high-tech scale can track the body fat percentage and body mass index (BMI) of up to eight users. The scale also can sync with any other Fitbit devices you own, as well as the Fitbit app.
@LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 11
SKIN CANCER How to Stay Safe from This Deadly Phenomenon by Frederick Schenk
ver the last few years, I have successfully undergone treatment for skin cancer on several occasions—underscoring the importance of regular skin checks and physician visits. My personal battles with skin cancer are not uncommon—1 in 5 Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer at some point in their lives. According to recent data published in the Archives of Dermatology, more than 2.5 million people develop more than 3.5 million nonmelonoma skin cancers—including basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma—each year, marking a 300% increase in skin cancer cases since 1994. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that melanoma, the third most common skin cancer, is also on the rise— which is especially alarming as it is the most deadly. Thankfully, my two episodes did not involve melanoma. Still, all suspected abnormalities must be evaluated by a qualified physician and any delay in doing so is potentially dangerous. The vast majority of these common types of skin cancer are caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun and tanning booths. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization have identified UV light as a human carcinogen. Research shows that by damaging the skin’s cellular DNA, excessive UV radiation produces genetic mutations that can cause skin cancer. But despite the dangers, people continue to bask in the sun unprotected. The latest figures confirm that skin cancer, the world’s most common cancer, is at epidemic proportions. There are more new cases of skin cancer reported each year than the cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon combined.
@LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 13
Take Preventative Measures The good news? Skin cancer, especially nonmelanoma skin cancer, is treatable when caught early—making regular screening critical. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends everyone practice a monthly head-to-toe skin selfexamination to detect new or changing growths. Skin cancers found and removed early nearly always curable—and many cancers can be caught with skin exams. The American Cancer Society offers the following tips for self-examination: »» Check face, ears, neck, chest and belly. »» Check underarm areas, both sides of arms, the tops and palms of hands, in between fingers and fingernails. »» Use a hand mirror to look at the bottoms of feet, calves and the backs of thighs, first checking one leg and then the other. »» Use a hand mirror or a wall mirror and hand mirror combination to check buttocks, genital area, lower and upper back and the back of the neck and ears. »» Part hair with comb or hair dryer to check the scalp. Skin cancers can appear in many shapes and sizes. The Skin Cancer Foundation says to be especially wary of: »» A spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, crust, scab, erode or bleed »» An open sore that does not heal within two weeks; a skin growth, mole, beauty mark or brown spot that changes color or appears pearly, translucent, tan, brown, black or multicolored; changes in texture; increases in size or thickness; is asymmetrical; is irregular in outline or border; is bigger than 6 mm, the size of a pencil eraser; and/or appears after age 21. The American Cancer Society recommends scheduling regular skin checks by a physician and pointing out areas of concern, especially if anything has just appeared or changed. If your doctor suspects skin cancer, he or she will do the proper exams and tests to make a diagnosis.
The Sun is Not Your Friend Each year, more than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed – the majority of these are caused by UV rays from the sun or a tanning booth. Unprotected skin may become damaged by the sun’s dangerous ultraviolet rays in just 15 minutes. For this reason, a fundamental way to prevent skin cancer is to avoid the sun by following some very basic measures, recommended by the American Cancer Society: »» Stay shaded, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. »» Avoid tanning booths—new, high-pressure sunlamps actually emit UVR doses as much as 12 times the sun. »» Do not burn. A single sunburn increases your chances of contracting melanoma. »» Cover yourself with clothing, such as broad brimmed hats, 14 / LIVING SAFER / VOL 7 ED 4
sunglasses, trousers and long-sleeved shirts. »» Regularly use sunscreen of SPF 20 or higher. Reapply after two hours or after excessive swimming or sweating. »» If you plan to be in the sun for a long period of time, use SPF 30 or higher. »» Cover up and use sunscreen even on overcast days—up to 80% of UVR penetrates clouds.
Common Risk Factors Unfortunately, some people—including myself—are simply at higher risk for skin cancer. According to the CDC, common risk factors include: »» Fair skin and/or skin that freckles burns easily »» Blue or green eyes »» Blond or red hair »» A history of skin cancer in your family »» Regular sun exposure through work or recreation »» A history of sunburns »» Excessive moles While skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, it is treatable and preventable. Protect yourself: slather sunscreen, stay out of the sun, visit your doctor regularly and examine yourself carefully for any skin changes. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) sponsors annual free skin cancer screenings throughout the country. For more information, visit www.aad.org/spot-skin-cancer/find-a-screening. Ultimately, public awareness and education is the best way to reduce skin cancers. For more information, visit www.cancer.org.
Make Skin Protection
Part of Your Year-Round Routine by Matt Casey n the winter months, a combination of cold temperatures, low humidity and harsh winds can wreak havoc on your skin. To protect your skin from the harsh elements of winter, follow these helpful tips:
Skip the hot shower. Taking long, hot showers feels good, but it also robs your skin of much-needed moisture. When showering in the winter, keep the temperature moderate. If you can’t resist a hot shower, make it quick. Instead of using bar soap, which can dry out skin, use a creamy, moisturizing cleanser with glycerin. If you prefer a bath, add some bath oil or moisturizing oatmeal bath to the water to help hydrate your skin.
Don’t forget the moisturizer. Immediately following a shower or bath, pat your skin dry (don’t rub) with a towel and apply an ample amount of good, quality moisturizer to damp skin. Cover the areas with clothing right away to speed absorption and prevent evaporation. Older folks will benefit from heavy-duty creams or ointments, but watch for lanolin—a common ingredient that can be an allergen to seniors.
Keep your lips sealed. Before going to bed at night, apply a generous layer of lip balm to lock in moisture and keep your lips from drying out during the night.
Drink plenty of water. Don’t assume that cooler weather means you can skip on hydration. During the winter, keep your water consumption consist and try to drink at least eight glasses of
water per day. You can gauge your hydration levels by checking urine color, which should be in the general range of pale to slightly yellow. Bundle up. When outside in the cold, be sure to cover all exposed skin areas paying careful attention to your hands and feet. The skin on your fingers and toes is especially susceptible to frostbite and windburn.
Don’t forget the sunscreen. Despite the fact that the sun is at a lower angle and the rays are less intense in the winter, you can still get a sunburn during cold-weather months. This is especially true if you spend a significant amount of time outdoors when the ground is covered with snow. On a bright, sunny, cloudless winter day, sunlight will reflect strongly off white ground snow and the result will be a ‘snow burn’. Protect yourself by wearing sunscreen on any exposed skin. And, always wear a lip balm with sunscreen to lock in moisture and shield your lips from the sun’s rays.
Turn on the humidifier. Your skin needs humidity levels of 3040% for optimal health, but running your home heating system can lower the humidity levels to 10%. The National Institute of Health recommends the use of humidifiers to relieve congestion from the common cold, flu, and sinus infections. Humidifiers can also alleviate symptoms of dry eyes, eczema, itchy skin, cracked lips, dry nasal passages, nosebleeds, asthma and allergies. It’s a good rule of thumb to turn on your home humidifier, or at least run a bedroom humidifier, when you turn on your home heating system.
@LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 15
Speaking to Your Child about Juvenile Diabetes by Robin Jabour A child’s diagnosis of Juvenile or Type 1 diabetes can be overwhelming and difficult for both parent and child. Deciding what to tell your child about their medical condition can also be very challenging. This conversation may be easier by keeping in mind some general guidelines offered by the Mayo Clinic and pediatric clinical social workers:
Keep the Conversation Age Appropriate.
Always be Honest.
Obviously, a discussion with a young child about his disease does not and should not include the detailed information that a conversation with a teenager might. It is important to know what your child is capable of understanding, and to use language to describe the cause of his disease as well as the treatment in language that is appropriate. For example, it may be enough to tell a child under the age of 8 that their belly does not always work and it needs medicine to help it work better. On the other hand, a child in his late teens may be capable of understanding medical terminology and the cause and effect relationship between the pancreas and diabetes.
It is critically important to always tell your child the truth about his disease. The “truth” includes facts that are difficult, for example, “in order to stay healthy, you will need shots of insulin” and “you will have to monitor your blood sugar several times a day.” While it is important for a child to know these things in order to treat his disease properly, information you convey to your child should also include facts that explain that he did not do anything wrong or bad to cause diabetes. In addition, a child should also be told the truth about the enormous advances in medical treatment which have taken place over the last decade and what diabetes researchers expect to offer 16 / LIVING SAFER / VOL 7 ED 4
by way of treatment and cure in the future. Informing your child that many smart people are working on trying to find a cure for diabetes is accurate and offers hope. If you are honest and open with your child about his disease, your child will be encouraged to ask you any questions he might have.
Explain the Disease.
A conversation about diabetes should include telling your child that diabetes is not temporary and will not go away like a sore throat or a cold. If your child is aware that his diabetes will be a lifelong condition right from the beginning, it will be easier for him to accept the challenges it presents. It is likewise important to explain that while diabetes is a disease that requires insulin or medication, it is NOT something they will die from (some children think they will die from diabetes because the first part of the word sounds like die). All children, no matter the age, should be assured that they will not die from diabetes.
Every child should be told that their diabetes will not prevent them from doing the same things that other children do, either now or in the future. There are professional athletes, musicians, physicians, actors and government leaders who have had Type 1 diabetes. As long as diabetes is under control, any child can live a normal, healthy life. In fact, research has shown that because most children with juvenile diabetes watch their diet and exercise daily to keep their blood sugars in check, they may be more fit and at a healthier weight than other children. While a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes can be alarming, especially at first, a frank and open discussion with your child can often help alleviate fears and concerns.
Lead with a Bright Smile and Fresh Breath by Bret Hanna s we’ve all heard a thousand times, “you only have one chance to make a first impression.” Being wellgroomed and well-dressed go a long way toward making that good first impression, but leading with a bright smile and fresh breath are key to sealing the deal on that impression. Moreover, good oral hygiene and health are critical for maintaining overall good health on a day-to-day basis. Achieving and maintaining good oral hygiene and health is not that difficult. The five basics are brushing, flossing, swishing, chewing, fluoridating and avoiding.
Brushing Choose your toothbrush carefully. Both manual and electric brushes can be effective, depending on brushing technique. Most people make sure to brush the chewing surfaces, but it is important to brush all of the teeth surfaces, as well your lips, tongue and the roof of your mouth. The brush should be held at a 45-degree angle to the surface being brushed, and the brush should be “vibrated” against the surface for three to five seconds. Hard scrubbing can damage tooth enamel and skin surfaces. Select the type of brush that works best for you in terms of brushing all of the important surfaces with the proper technique. Also, replace your brush, or electric brush head, every three to four months to make sure you are getting the best results.
Swishing Using an antimicrobial wash or rinse on a daily basis is an additional safeguard against the buildup of bacteria in the mouth. Also, depending on the type used, the bonus is superfresh breath for a period after swishing.
Chewing Chewing snacks and food is just fine in terms of keeping your mouth clean, as long as those snacks and food are not loaded with sugar on a regular basis. Sugar can directly cause tooth decay and cavities, and it can change the chemistry of your mouth such that it is easier for acid to build. When that happens, you are also at a greater for cavities. If you do chew snacks or food with sugar in them, follow them with a glass of water to dilute the impact of the sugar. Chewing sugarless gum after meals helps with oral hygiene, because it generates saliva that can help neutralize harmful acids in the mouth.
Fluoridating A strong majority of municipalities (more than 70%) fluoridate their culinary water supplies. If they do, simply drinking a couple glasses of water from a faucet every day means you will improve your chances of avoiding tooth decay. If your home drinking water comes from a well, or if you are served by a water system that is not fluoridated, seek out an inexpensive fluoride supplement to add to your drinking water.
Flossing When it comes to your mouth, bacteria is not your friend. Bacteria can “hide” on tight surfaces between your teeth where you can’t reach with a brush. Make sure you floss from the gums all the way to the other end of each tooth. For bridges or larger gaps between teeth, an interdental cleaner may work better.
Avoiding Avoiding things that can undermine good oral hygiene and health does not mean abstinence (with one exception). It simply means that there are some things we put in our mouths that are not conducive to a brilliant white smile, so moderation is the name of the game. That goes for sugary foods, red wine, black coffee, tea, dark sodas, slushies and popsicles, cranberry juice, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, blueberries, beets, tomato sauces, and curry. The exception, of course, is cigarettes. They guarantee bad breath, cause gum disease and oral cancer, and turn teeth yellow and brown. No room for moderation there. Making that good first impression with a gleaming smile and minty breath is very attainable with a little bit of thought and effort.
@LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 17
Might be your computer by Lily Grace y now, we all know that sitting for hours at a time in front of a computer isn’t healthy. It has been documented to cause headaches, blurry vision and makes us tired, cranky and sometimes, even fat and bloated. What you may not know is that there’s now an actual medical term for this ailment: Computer Vision Syndrome. According to the American Optometric Association, CVS (also referred to as Digital Eye Strain) describes a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, ereader and cellphone use. Many individuals experience eye discomfort and vision problems when viewing digital screens for extended periods. The level of discomfort appears to increase with the amount of digital screen use. The most common symptoms associated with this condition are eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes and neck and shoulder pain. So how to do you combat this condition that may come with so many of today’s jobs? Here are 10 tips, courtesy of Dr. Jeffrey R. Anshel.
18 / LIVING SAFER / VOL 7 ED 4
Move your computer monitor away from the window.
Adjust your monitor height.
Check your contacts.
Extraneous light, or glare, is the greatest source of eyestrain for computer users. No matter where your computer screen is relative to a window, adjustable shades, curtains or blinds should be used to effectively control light throughout the day. Avoid facing an unshaded window, as the difference in brightness between the screen and the outdoors may cause eye stress and discomfort. Consider an anti-glare screen to further reduce reflections.
For maximum eye comfort, place the center of the screen five to nine inches below your horizontal line of sight. You should be looking just over the top of the monitor in your straight-ahead gaze.
Studies show that when looking at a computer or digital
screen, people spend more time concentrating and blink less frequently (up to three times less than normal). Long periods of nonblinking can cause the surface of your eyes and contact lenses to dry out, which can lead to discomfort and loss of visual clarity. Talk to an eyecare professional about lenses that provide wearers with increased moisture all day.
Adjust your computer display.
Modifying your monitor display settings can help reduce eye strain and fatigue. Alter the brightness of your display so it is the same as the brightness of your surrounding workstation. When reading long documents, modify them so you are reviewing black print on a white background.
Adjust your monitor distance
The eyes are not meant for seeing at a close distance for hours at a time without a break. Follow the 20/20/20 rule: Take a 20-second break every 20 minutes. Focus your eyes on points at least 20 feet from your computer. Keep your eyes moving while looking at objects at various distances.
If you can touch the screen when you sit back in your chair, the monitor is too close. Use the â€œOne Third Rule.â€? With your monitor on, displaying a typical document or email you use every day, move back from the screen until it just starts to become blurred. Measure this distance and divide by three; your monitor should be placed at that distance.
See your eyecare professional.
Use proper lighting indoors.
Hold digital devices farther away.
Affix paper documents so they are in line with your monitor.
For those who work in front of a computer or digital screen all day long, annual eye exams are a must. If at any time you experience any vision problems or discomfort, talk to your eye care professional.
Avoid working under overhead fluorescent lights if possible. Choose floor or desk lamps instead that provide indirect lighting. Do the mirror test: Take a pocket mirror and put it on your computer screen. If you see a light bulb or other bright source of light behind you, you need to reposition your monitor to reduce the glare.
There have been several studies that show that people hold digital material closer than they would if they were looking at printed materials, like a newspaper. The closer you hold something to your eyes, the more stress you put on them. Make a conscious effort to hold digital devices like your smart phone, farther away from your eyes than normal; adjust the settings if needed to enable larger print.
Many people tend to situate their work so that they are constantly looking off to one side or flat on the table next to the screen. This requires frequently eye, head and/or torso movement to look back and forth. Affix a spring-loaded document holder to your monitor, so that the eyes can focus and converge in their normal plane of motion (i.e., down and in).
@LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 19
THE CONSUMER’S GUIDE TO ALL THINGS SAFETY
We’re on the Web and in Your Hands. Welcome to the all-new Living Safer, the same magazine you’ve come to know and love...just with a more inviting look and feel. And while the face may have changed, our pledge to you remains the same: to offer the best in safety information— from new trends and wellness to lifestyle, home and more.
Join the Conversation. Share and comment on Living Safer stories by joining us on Facebook and Twitter and by visiting LivingSafer.com 20 / LIVING SAFER / VOL 7 ED 4
fb.com/LivingSafer / @livingsafer
Why Having the Right Auto Insurance is Imperative by Nathaniel Fick
hen you’re deciding about the right amount of auto insurance to carry, the full extent of your vulnerability may not be immediately obvious. Your state probably requires you to carry a minimum level of liability coverage, and if you have a car loan, your contract with a lender may include mandatory comprehensive coverage. However, it’s important to realize that you don’t buy auto insurance only to protect yourself from damages and lawsuits; you also have to cover your own potential losses from damage caused by other drivers who don’t have insurance.
There are more uninsured motorists than you may realize. When you go down an auto insurance coverage checklist, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage may not seem very important. After all, 49 states (and the District of Columbia) require drivers to carry a basic level of auto insurance, so you may figure that everyone else on the road is insured. The fact is that state insurance laws can only dictate goals, not reality: 12.6% of drivers nationwide still carry no auto insurance, according to the Insurance Information Institute. That works out to about one out of every eight cars you pass on the road. @LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 21
There are numerous reasons why this percentage is so high: In the aftermath of rough economic times, some people still struggle with debt and unemployment, and their auto insurance bill stays unopened at the bottom of a stack of mail. If a driver has had traffic violations or an at-fault accident, or even if they just have bad credit, their insurance premiums may become unaffordable. Or they may be carrying just the required minimum coverage and in the case of a serious accident, it’s not enough to cover all the damage that they cause.
becoming one of those households who can’t pay the bills piling up in your mailbox. Furthermore, pain and suffering are genuinely worthy of compensation—but only uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage will provide funds for that purpose. You can always try suing the at-fault driver, and you may eventually succeed in winning a court judgment. However, someone who wasn’t carrying any auto insurance probably can’t afford to pay court-ordered damages either, so your legal efforts may not bring you any satisfaction.
How uninsured motorist coverage protects your family.
Your car will need repair as well.
You may think to yourself: I have my own insurance, so I’ll still be OK if there is an accident involving an uninsured motorist. While it’s true that if you live in one of the 12 “no-fault states,” your own auto insurance will cover your medical bills up to a certain limit, that’s only the beginning of your potential expenses from an auto accident. (In most states, you have to try to win a lawsuit against an uninsured motorist if the accident was their fault, because your insurance company will resist paying in those situations.) You also have to consider what happens in case of a hit-and-run accident; someone may be fleeing from the police or under the influence of alcohol, and just disappear before you realize what happened. If you don’t know who caused the accident, you have no way of collecting payment from their insurance company.
Collisions with uninsured motorists lead to more than medical bills and lost income. Once the injuries are cared for, you still need transportation—and even no-fault states don’t require your insurance company to cover damage to your car when it was someone else’s fault. The only way to ensure that you’ll be protected is to carry specific coverage designed to protect you from drivers who aren’t adequately insured.
Expenses go beyond basic medical bills. Hospital bills can rapidly mount into tens of thousands of dollars, quickly exceeding the payout of someone’s minimum-level liability coverage. Even in no-fault states, your hospital bills for a serious injury can quickly exceed your own personal injury protection. In this era of fragmented health insurance coverage, you may end up being responsible for enormous deductibles and co-pays. And what happens to your paycheck during the time you’re laid up and recovering from the accident? Carrying coverage against uninsured and underinsured motorists is a way to protect your family from
22 / LIVING SAFER / VOL 7 ED 4
Keep your family safe. Twenty-two states have recognized the serious financial risk created by uninsured drivers, and have passed laws requiring everyone to carry uninsured motorist coverage. Most states, however, leave this up to individual discretion, and too often a desire to economize leaves families unprotected. You’re probably behind the wheel of your car for some time every day, passing hundreds of other drivers who don’t have any insurance. For a relatively modest investment, you can have the peace of mind that comes from knowing your family is protected in case of something unforeseen.
Tip Whatever level of coverage you think you are comfortable with, ask for a quote for the next higher limit, with a million-dollar umbrella. Get the quote, and then decide what is right for you, and for your family.
HELP! What to do When Your Pocket is Picked by Matt Devoti
e’ve all been there. That sinking feeling when you realize your wallet or purse has been lost or stolen. There is a feeling of being out of control and a definite sense of panic. When a wallet or purse is missing, there is a lot of information about you that can fall into the wrong hands—your driver’s license, Social Security number, date of birth, address, credit cards, debit cards, banking information, information about your kids, and the list goes on. While difficult, your best course of action is to try to remain calm and focus. Taking the necessary steps quickly and efficiently will help minimize the damage and, hopefully, keep you from becoming a victim of identity theft. Your first step should be to notify your banking institution and your major credit cards. These organizations all have 24-hour dedicated numbers for reports of theft. They can place holds on your account or close them completely at your request. The bank will need to cancel your ATM card immediately. You won’t be held liable for missing funds if you report the loss before someone uses the ATM card. If you wait to report, then the bank can hold you liable for some of the missing funds. Credit card companies can view transactions in real-time, so they can quickly identify any recent transactions and you can determine if the credit cards were used illegally. If there was any information regarding your bank account in the
missing wallet or purse, then as a safeguard you should close the account and open a new one. After you notify the bank, cancel the ATM card, and place the hold on your accounts, you will have time either later that day or the next day to go to your neighborhood bank branch to close and reopen the accounts. After reopening the new bank accounts, make sure you reconfigure any direct deposits or automatic payments that you had set-up. Your next step should be to notify the credit reporting agencies that your Social Security number may be compromised. Call one of the three major credit reporting bureaus and ask to put a fraud alert on your file, to prevent identity theft in the future. The initial fraud alert stays on for 90 days. You also can request an extended fraud alert, which stays in effect for seven years. You can also request a credit freeze. Notifying one credit reporting bureau will trigger the same alert for the other bureaus. »» Equifax: (800) 525-6285 or www.equifax.com »» Experian: (888) 397-3742 or www.experian.com »» TransUnion: (800) 680-7289 or www.transunion.com Use www.annualcreditreport.com to order a credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus, so you can check them for any suspicious activity. You have the right to one free credit report each year, so make it a habit to check your report annually. Be sure to monitor bank accounts and credit card statements closely for suspicious activity as well.
@LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 23
»» File a Police Report – With so many petty thefts happening, it may seem futile, but it’s still a good idea to file a report with your local police department. If there have been a rash of similar thefts in the area, your information may provide clues that could help the police track down the perpetrators. Give the police a list of all items that were in the stolen wallet or purse. Finally, request a copy of the report, as you may need it down the road. »» Driver’s License – If your driver’s license is missing, contact the state agency that issues driver’s licenses. Place a stolen/lost card warning notice on your file and request a replacement. If you notice a thief is using your license, you can request a license number change. »» Green card or immigration papers – Notify the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as well as your country’s embassy. »» Passport – If missing, notify the U.S. Department of State immediately and fill out Form DS-64. If the passport was issued by another country, notify the issuing country’s embassy. »» Military ID – If a military ID is missing, notify the personnel support detachment (PSD) and the immediate chain of command up to the commanding officer. Then apply for a replacement card. »» Social Security card – If your Social Security card is missing or stolen, you need to notify your local Social Security Administration office and explain what happened. You can have a new card issued, but you’ll need to provide proper documentation and the number will remain the same.
24 / LIVING SAFER / VOL 7 ED 4
»» Notify the IRS – Given the rise in IRS tax fraud in recent years, it’s a good idea to notify the IRS that you had a purse or wallet stolen and that your Social Security number was or may have been compromised. »» Health insurance cards, rewards cards, gym memberships, library cards, etc—Notify your carrier and request replacement cards. It is important to note, when making the phone calls to various agencies, creditors, etc.—you should keep a list of the creditor names, phone numbers, contacts, dates/times that you spoke and if any follow-up action items are required.
Good to Know In the future, mitigate the chance of loss by doing the following: »» Carry only the credit card(s) that you need. »» Carry only the minimum amount of cash that you need. »» Don’t carry your ATM card unless you absolutely need it. »» Don’t carry any papers with passwords or PIN numbers. »» Never carry your Social Security card. »» Keep the cards you leave behind in a secure, safe place. »» Make a list of all credit card/debit card numbers and the issuer’s customer service/theft department phone numbers. Keep the list in a secure, safe place at home so you can quickly make the necessary phone calls if something goes missing.
@LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 25
What Really Happens When You Delete Something
From the Web? by Mark Bello
n April, Google celebrated the 155th anniversary of the Pony Express. Technology has come a long way since then. The Internet has changed how we get our information, our shopping habits; indeed, it has completely altered the way we communicate with each other and has affected nearly every aspect of our lives. While many Internet users believe they are familiar with how to protect their online privacy, these issues are growing and personal information is becoming less and less, well, personal. Some websites have transparent sharing policies, stating exactly
26 / LIVING SAFER / VOL 7 ED 4
what information they will use for advertising or marketing; others are not so clear. For example, if a user removes his/her profile from the Facebook server, that doesnâ€™t mean all data about you is wiped clean. Information that others have shared about you is not part of your account. Further, Facebook states that copies of some material may remain in their database for technical reasons. Googleâ€™s fine print reveals similar caveats. Thus, in the event of a security breach, your information could wind up in the hands of hackers. Even if every company kept your information
far from a hackable Internet connection, there are still other ways for a professional hacker to make it suddenly and miraculously “reappear.” So what happens when you want to delete that embarrassing tweet or a Facebook comment typed “in the heat of the moment?” What if you are simply tired of being so transparent and want to completely remove your online identity? Although you clicked the “delete” button, is it really and completely gone—forever? Erasing yourself or even a few photos from the web without completely changing your identity is virtually impossible; there is no an absolute erase button. While you can remove information, hundreds of thousands of bots and search engines are trolling the web daily. There is only one fullproof way to remove yourself from the Internet and that is to never have been on it in the first place. So now that you are, what can you do? Here are a few tips from PCWorld to minimize your online footprint:
Run an online background check of yourself. If you find anything you want removed, go directly to the original source and follow its removal instructions.
Delete search engine results that return information about you. This includes sites like Bing, Yahoo!, and Google. Google has a URL removal tool that can help you delete specific URLs.
Remove yourself from data collection sites, such as Spokeo and PeopleFinder. Beware that the procedure for opting out takes time and patience, and don’t expect to be completely erased. Remove your info directly from websites by contacting the webmaster of those sites.
Use an alias. If a website won’t delete your account, go into the account settings and remove all of your personal information. If you are unable to leave fields blank, fill in fake information. Create a new email account and associate it to the account. Then, cancel the fake email account.
Leave or delete accounts. The privacy settings on social media sites such as on Facebook and Twitter, or shopping accounts such as Amazon explain how to deactivate an account. This does not mean it is permanently erased. It is a good idea to manually delete posts, photos, and messages before leaving.
Opt out of targeted ads by using your browser’s tracking protection, which limits third-party sites that your browser will access without your explicit permission, thus limiting these third parties’ opportunities to track you.
Use an online service, such as DeleteMe, which removes your data from numerous tracking sites and keeps it from coming back. If you would like to remain on the Internet while protecting your privacy, be diligent about reading privacy policies. Go to your account settings and make sure your profile is private and can’t be found by search engines. Also, before you post or send anything, ask yourself: “Will this get me fired?” “Will it prevent me from landing a job?” “Will it
prevent me to getting into my college of choice?” “Will it affect my lawsuit?” “Will this have some serious, negative, effect on my life?” If your message, status, photo cannot pass the test, it probably isn’t worth posting. Bottom line: once you’re on the Internet, it’s very difficult to leave.
@LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 27
Afraid of a Group Fitness Class? Just walk in; the rest will follow by Stephanie Andre ear of anything can be debilitating. Whether it’s spiders, heights or monsters under the bed, fear can be an allencompassing and extremely inhibiting emotion. But one place you shouldn’t fear is the group fitness studio. For many new to fitness or just embarking on a healthy lifestyle, the
peppy, loud and energetic sights and sounds of the such a place are likely intimidating. Choreographed moves. Tight, form-fitting clothes. Sweaty hair. Group fitness appears as if it may not be for the faint of heart or the lightweight fitness aficionado, but that’s where you’re wrong.
Fear #1: “They’re all looking at me.”
Fear #2: “It will work for everybody else but not me.”
Fear #3: “I cannot do this.”
Totally false. You may get a “hello” or “hi,” but you certainly won’t get dozens of eyeballs gawking at you. Like you, others in this class are there to get healthy, not stare at the “new kid.” So what’s the first step here? Well, walk into the studio, for starters. What you’ll find is that after a day or two, you may actually start to make friends. And having a workout buddy is a great way to stay motivated and keep you on track.
You’ve already overcome the biggest hurdle— getting there. Don’t start getting down on yourself now. You are as capable as anyone else; you just have to work for it … like everyone else. And trust me, they do have to work for it. Just look around that studio. Everyone is sweating. Maybe even whimpering. If you are still concerned, go talk to the instructor and let them know your fears. They’ll help you and offer tips that may help you in your fitness journey.
Well, that’s just not true. You can do anything. See “fear #2.” Pump up that self esteem! You’ve already walked into the studio. It’s not going to happen in a day, but it will happen if you continue to try. Besides, cut yourself some slack and just do what you can. Eventually you will catch on, and maybe even serve as inspiration for the next person watching from outside.
28 / LIVING SAFER / VOL 7 ED 4
Congratulations, You’re Married! ... Have you talked money? by Maureen May hether this was your first trip down the aisle or your third, this legal union differs from any you have been party to previously. And before the wedding bells even stop ringing, the financial ramifications of your coupling become a reality. Each spouse comes to the marriage with set financial experiences, notions and habits. Learning to blend, balance, and compromise financially is essential to the stability and longevity of that union. Growing your dreams, large and small, together creates a marriage rich in happiness and harmony. The path to blending, balancing and compromising financially can be rocky. Honest and thorough conversation and collaboration in structuring marital finances is imperative. To get started, consider addressing these areas:
Day-to-Day Management How will your bank accounts be titled—jointly, individually, or a mixture of jointly and individually named accounts? This is a personal decision that varies couple to couple. Who will handle the day-to-day bill-paying and financial transactions? Regardless of whether one spouse is designated in this role, each couple must set aside time to regularly discuss the current
30 / LIVING SAFER / VOL 7 ED 4
financial events of the household. Will there be a limit to spending without disclosure to your spouse? For some couples, spending $100 without consultation causes no strife; but for others, large purchases without a spouse’s agreement can be an arguing point. Are you a saver or a spender? Is your spouse a saver or a spender? These identifiers help set the values each couple associates with spending and saving. Those values will help guide the discussion about the lifestyle you live and the future for which you save. What will be your saving strategies, for both short-term and long-term goals? Some people prefer “automatic savings,” where a portion of each paycheck is directed automatically into a savings account while others prefer a more conscious strategy, where they direct money to established accounts and investments.
Financial Goals Short-term and long-term financial goals require conversation. How large an emergency fund do you need? Typically, an emergency fund should have 4-6 months of living expenses available. Are there education decisions to make? Will or do you have
children? If so, will you plan to pay or partially pay for their educations? Will you or your spouse be going to school? Do one or both of you have education loans in repayment? Purchasing or remodeling a home, traveling, or preparing for a new child, among other things, can strain a budget if they are not included in your master financial plan. Consider creating a separate account to accumulate funds for significant life changes and memories you want to make together. Retirement. Save for retirement.
Protection With the thought and care you are putting into your marital financial plan, you must protect it. Insurance, using beneficiary designations, and creating an estate plan with a qualified attorney are essential to establishing that protection. Life and disability insurance provide near-immediate funds to your family on your death or debilitating injury. Investigate the options available to you and your spouse, separately. Insurance brokers can often find affordable plans or work with you on finding a way to obtain the coverage you need. If there is an option to name a beneficiary—typically on investment accounts, retirement accounts, and life insurance—be sure to update your beneficiary designations to include your spouse. If you fail to do so, your spouse may have no legal right to that money after your death. Consult with an attorney in your state to see that you each have a solid estate plan—a General Durable Power of Attorney, an Advance Directive and Appointment of Healthcare Agent and a Last Will and Testament. You must affirmatively designate your spouse as a person authorized to act in a legal capacity on your behalf; without such a designation there can be no assurance he or she will have any ability to do so. Likewise, you must create a valid and enforceable will to secure control over the distribution and division of your assets when you die; without a will, the state in which you live will determine how your assets are divided and distributed. With these financial discussions, you and your new spouse can continue to invest in and create your future together. @LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 31
Are Texts Affecting Your Self Esteem? A new study shows most of us sweat the small stuff by Lily Grace nding your texts with a period is a big problem, according to a new study. Apparently, you’re just not friendly. Researchers led by Binghamton University’s Celia Klin report that text messages ending with a period are perceived as being less sincere. “Text messaging is one of the most frequently used computermediated communication (CMC) methods. The rapid pace of texting mimics face-to-face communication, leading to the question of whether the critical non-verbal aspects of conversation, such as tone, are expressed in CMC,” the researchers write in the study, which was published recently in the journal Computers in Human Behavior. To test whether the period had become a social cue within the context of CMC, the researchers presented a small group (126 undergraduates—not representative of the global population, but fairly representative of the most prolific texters) with exchanges framed as either texts or handwritten notes.
The experimental messages featured an invitation followed by a brief reply. When that reply was followed by a period, subjects rated the response as less sincere than when no punctuation was used. The effect wasn’t present in handwritten notes. According to Klin and her fellow researchers, that’s an indication the text-message period has taken on a life of its own. It is no longer just the correct way to end a sentence. It’s an act of psychological warfare against your friends. In follow-up research that hasn’t yet been published, they saw signs that exclamation points may make your messages seem more sincere than no punctuation at all. “Texting is lacking many of the social cues used in actual faceto-face conversations,” Klin said. “...Thus, it makes sense that texters rely on what they have available to them—emoticons, deliberate misspellings that mimic speech sounds and, according to our data, punctuation.” So take heed: If you insist on grammatical correctness, you may suffer consequences. @LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 33
34 / LIVING SAFER / VOL 7 ED 4
“get back from the tv — you’re standing too close!” “winter is coming; time to stock up on the oj so you don't catch a cold.”
“it’s terrible for you to eat before bed!”
“my kid is hopped up on sugar.”
Any of these sound familiar? Myths, old wives tales and half-truths continue to have a place in our daily lives. And as generations continue to tell tales, we have to ask ourselves, what’s actually real? Honestly, will it matter if I wait 30 minutes before jumping in the pool? It can sometimes be hard to distinguish fact from fiction when it comes to health information, particularly as some of the biggest fallacies are so widespread. Hypochondriacs, rejoice! Here’s the truth behind 16 common health myths.
When TVs first became popular in the 1950s, they emitted 100,000 times more radiation than they do today, so parents may have been smart to keep their kids away from the tube back then, according to the book, “Don't Cross Your Eyes...They'll Get Stuck That Way,” by Aaron Carroll, M.D., and Rachel Vreeman, M.D., both of the Indiana University School of Medicine. But sitting too close to a TV or computer screen won't do any permanent damage to your eyes these days. The fuzzy vision and headaches that follow a long day at the office (or a Netflix binge session) are symptoms of eyestrain—a temporary condition no different than the soreness you feel after a workout. Relieve the aching with light massage around your eyes.
It's true that if you don't have enough vitamin C, you'll get sick—but with scurvy, not a runny nose. Carroll and Vreeman suggest that this bug-fighting theory began when we discovered the vitamin's link to that infamous sailors' affliction—in 1932. However, while those exposed to periods of high stress (such as marathon runners) can indeed reduce their risk of catching the cold virus through daily supplementation, a review
@LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 35
of 30 studies published in the Cochrane Library has suggested that, for the average person, taking a daily dose of vitamin C does little to reduce the severity or length of a cold. What is the best way to stay cold-free? "Nothing beats hand washing," Carroll says.
Simply not true, state Carroll and Vreeman. “It is much more important to take your birth control pill every day at the same time than to spend time worrying about your antibiotics,” they say. Despite urban legend, no good science exists to suggest that birth control pills don’t work as well while taking antibiotics. In fact, the American Academy of Family Physicians suggests that while there are not a lot of good studies to help answer the question, the scientific literature reiterates that common antibiotics do not reduce how well birth control pills work.
Though consumers who fill their shopping carts with products labeled “No HFCS” might feel otherwise, the idea that high-fructose corn syrup is any more harmful to your health than sugar is “one of those urban myths that sounds right but is basically wrong,” according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington, D.C.-based nutrition and health advocacy group. High-fructose corn syrup was created to mimic sucrose (table sugar), so its composition is almost identical to sucrose’s (55% fructose, 45% glucose; with sucrose the ratio is 50:50). Calorie-wise, it’s a dead ringer for sucrose. And in studies that compare the effects of HFCS with other sweeteners, HFCS and sucrose have very similar effects on blood levels of insulin, glucose, triglycerides and satiety hormones. In short, it seems to be no worse—but also no better—than sucrose, or table sugar.
Contrary to the theories of the low-carb/no carb best seller, "Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution," first published in 1972 (and the similar books that followed), there’s nothing inherently fattening about carbohydrates, says Jean Harvey-Berino, Ph.D., R.D., chair of the department of nutrition and food sciences at the University of Vermont and co-author of “The EatingWell Diet.” “It’s eating too many calories, period, that makes you fat,” Harvey-Berino says. There’s no question that loading up on sugary and refined-carbohydrate-rich foods, such as white bread, pasta and doughnuts, can raise your risk of developing health problems like heart disease and diabetes. But if you cut out so-called “good-carb” foods, such as whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables, you’re missing out on your body’s main source of fuel as well as vital nutrients and fiber. What’s more, for many people, a low-carb diet may be harder to stick with in the long run.
36 / LIVING SAFER / VOL 7 ED 4
Not so, according to John Foreyt, Ph.D., director of the Behavioral Medicine Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine. “Calories are calories are calories,” says Foreyt. “It doesn’t matter what time you eat them. What matters are the total calories you take in.” While missing meals throughout the day can cause you to binge, it is not the time you eat that matters so much as the quantity, according to separate studies by Dunn Nutrition Centre and Oregon Health & Science University. The fact is, as long as you burn off the amount of calories that you eat during each day, it is irrelevant what time you eat them.
Meh, maybe not. More recent research has suggested that there is actually no scientific evidence supporting this recommendation, and that drinking excessive amounts of water can actually be dangerous, according to eatingwell.com. While hydration is vitally important, a proportion of our required fluid intake is generally met through the food we eat. Furthermore, our fluid recommendations will vary depending on the temperature and how active we are, amongst other factors.
Don’t believe the hype. Paper towels win, hands down. In fact, according to molecular biologist Keith Redway, of the University of Westminster, jet dryers actually increase the amount of bacteria on users' hands because the air inside the machines is far from sterile. The dryers make the restroom dirtier, too, spewing germs more than six feet. According to Redway, paper towels are the clear winner.
With our country’s continued issues with morbid obesity, many of us understandably hold the belief that being fat is the worst possible thing for our health. However, while it is true that being overweight can be damaging to our health, being underweight is just as bad—if not worse. In fact, a study by researchers at Tohoku University found that those who are overweight at 40 are likely to live longer than those who are thin, with underweight people being at greater risk of heart disease and pneumonia.
@LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 37
Numerous studies show sugar doesn’t affect behavior, but most parents still aren’t believers. Sugar doesn’t change kids’ behavior, a double-blind research study found more than 20 years ago in 1994. A sugary diet didn’t affect behavior or cognitive skills, the researchers report. Sugar does change one important thing, though: parents’ expectations. After hearing that their children had just consumed a big sugar fix, parents were more likely to say their child was hyperactive, even when the big sugar fix was a placebo, another study found.
Well, not really. In a study by the Common Cold Research Unit, a group of volunteers were inoculated with a cold virus and then split into two groups; half kept in a warm room while the others stood wet in a hallway after taking a bath. Results surprisingly showed no difference in the number of people who caught colds within the two groups. Rather than being due to the cold weather, it is thought that the cold virus spreads more easily during the winter months as more people are driven indoors where they come into close contact with others.
“Radiation” might connote images of nuclear plants, but it simply refers to energy that travels in waves and spreads out as it goes. Microwaves, radio waves and the energy waves that we perceive as visual light all are forms of radiation. So, too, are X-rays and gamma rays—which do pose health concerns. But the microwaves used to cook foods are many, many times weaker than X-rays and gamma rays, says Robert Brackett, Ph.D., director of the National Center for Food Safety and Technology at the Illinois Institute of Technology. And the types of changes that occur in microwaved food as it cooks are “from heat generated inside the food, not the microwaves themselves,” says Brackett. “Microwave cooking is really no different from any other cooking method that applies heat to food.” That said, microwaving in some plastics may leach compounds into your food, so take care to use only microwave-safe containers.
Our metabolisms rev up slightly each time we eat, as our bodies process what we’ve consumed. So by having many mini meals instead of fewer, larger ones, we shift our metabolism into a higher gear more often—and burn a few more calories. But “the calorie difference is so small it doesn’t add up to a hill of beans,” says Foreyt. That said, snacking between meals may help some dieters by keeping them from getting overly hungry and eating too many calories when they finally sit down
38 / LIVING SAFER / VOL 7 ED 4
to dinner, according to eatingwell.com. But probably for just as many others, “each meal is an opportunity to lose control,” says Foreyt. Bottom line: Choose the eating pattern that works best for you.
In short, it's not. Have you ever heard a fizzing noise when the liquid touches your wound? That’s the sound of the chemical attacking germs, which include your own cells. Your skin is actually burning. A study in The Journal of Trauma found that H2O2 inhibits fibroblasts— a type of cell involved in tissue formation—thereby slowing the healing process. The authors recommend washing your cuts gently with soap and water, then adding a topical antibiotic. Additionally, you can use a solution, such as saline, that provides moisture and will still help cleanse an injury without risk of cell damage.
Consider this one a half-truth. When you have an infection, your body sends white blood cells called neutrophils to fight the germs, and when an enzyme in the neutrophils mixes with the healthy cells in your nose, your mucus changes color. The falsehood is that you need antibiotics. “There is no evidence…that antibiotics shorten the duration of an illness when green snot is a symptom,” say Carroll and Vreeman. The infection in your body is not necessarily bacterial; it could be viral—in which case, no amount of antibiotics will help. Quick history lesson: The green-snot-equals-sinus-infection myth was broken by a 1984 study that showed that antibiotics didn’t improve the symptoms of an illness marked by green nasal discharge. Researchers separated 142 children with green snot into two groups. One group received antibiotic treatment and the other received a placebo. Results showed that the drugs had no influence on “potentially pathogenic organisms” or on symptoms. Additional studies confirm these findings.
Well...maybe. According to Carroll and Vreeman, food quickly picked up from the floor is safe to eat. However, scientists have put the commonly cited “five-second rule” to the test and found that food that comes into contact with a tile or wood floor does pick up large amounts of bacteria. Food doesn’t pick up many germs when it hits carpet, but it does pick up carpet fuzz. So, be careful. If you actually count, five seconds is a long time. Probably too long to consider eating that cookie that hit the floor.
@LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 39
SUGAR Addiction 8 easy steps by Claude Wyle
@LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 41
ugar is addictive, just like many other vices. It creates stimulation to the part of your brain that increases production of dopamine, a pleasure neurotransmitter. When your dopamine levels drop, you feel down. Hence the term, “sugar rush.” Desiring to stimulate that feel-good chemical again, you want more sugar, which, in turn, leads to sugar addiction. Overconsumption of sugar contributes to worldwide obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and a myriad of other serious health concerns. It’s time to get scared of sugar. Good news; sugar addiction is relatively easy to beat. First, try to determine if you have a sugar addiction. If you feel like you absolutely need sugar and carbs to be happy, or indeed to survive. If you have tried a low-fat diet, and exercise, but you just can’t seem to lose weight. If you have high blood sugar or are insulin resistant. If you continue eating even after you’re not hungry. If you crave that full feeling that only carbs can bring. If you lose energy after eating too much. If you get super grouchy because your diet has been low on sugar. If sweet food and drinks make you feel good. These are all signs that you may be addicted to sugar. There are two basic schools of thought as to what is the best way to beat sugar addiction: moderation and going “cold turkey.” Everyone likes the moderation alternative because this doesn’t impose sacrifice, or hard work, or really mean all that much change to your lifestyle. Quitting sugar cold turkey seems too daunting, so let’s give it another title. Let’s call it a “sugar detox.” A sugar detox will train your palate and make it easier for you to control how sugar affects your life. When you give up all added sugars as well as artificial sweeteners for just two weeks, all food and drinks you used to consume will taste sweeter, and for the majority of people, your intense craving for sugar will stop in only two or three days. After six days, the majority of people are over their sugar withdrawal. The less sugar you eat, the less you crave. But first, you really have to say goodbye to sugar, cold turkey. You must remain undaunted, and after you make it through the first few days, your sugar and carb cravings will be reduced exponentially. The following are some suggestions to help you end addiction.
Eliminate sugar and even sugar replacements. If you are
Read labels. There’s no way around reading labels if you want
addicted to narcotics or alcohol, you can’t simply just cut down or moderate at first. You have to go cold turkey for your brain to reset. Refined sugar, maple syrup, honey, molasses, and all artificial sweeteners—such as aspartame, sucralose, saccharine, even stevia— need to be cut from your life, since they encourage sugar craving.
to beat your sugar addiction. So many foods have hidden sugars, you have to interpret what is in the food or drink you are choosing to consume. Don’t be fooled by sweetened drinks, such as fruit juice, sodas, diet sodas and sports drinks. Anything with hydrogenated oils or refined vegetable oils, such as corn and soybean, must be eliminated. Olive oil is the best alternative. Foods and sauces, such as barbecue sauce, ketchup, teriyaki sauce, chocolate milk, and even breakfast cereal, sneak sugar into our diets. Low fat milk often has higher sugar compared to whole milk. Soy milk and other milk substitutes are often full of sugar. High-fructose corn syrup is the devil.
42 / LIVING SAFER / VOL 7 ED 4
Next, nix simple carbs, which function just like straight sugar.
Pump up your serotonin. With a healthy diet, better sleep,
Stay hydrated with plenty of water. Dehydration can lead
Avoid peaks and valleys in your blood sugar. Smaller healthier
Eat fat fiber and protein, which satisfy your hunger and slow
Try supplements to help reduce cravings. Optimize your
A good rule of thumb is to avoid foods like white rice, white bread, potato and white pasta. Bread will just make sugar in your body, so try giving it up. Instead of pasta, just have a double order of vegetables. Avoid corn, too.
exercise and less stress, you can naturally raise levels of the “happiness hormone,” which will decrease cravings for sweets. Research shows that if you get seven to eight hours of sleep, you will not desire as much sugar. Meditation can also help.
to sugar craving. Drink tea, coffee and water, and cut out all fruit juice.
meals with some protein through lean animal protein, nuts or beans, eaten more often during the day tend to reduce sugar cravings by stabilizing blood sugar.
down your sugar processing. Once you have quit sugar cold turkey, you have to find something to eat that is satisfying. Focus on fat, fiber, and protein to keep you full and keep your blood sugar steady. Have avocado, nuts and coconut oil for healthy fats, and healthy snacks. Eat lots of veggies for fiber and to fill you up when you will be missing the rice, bread and potatoes. And have lean meats, eggs, fish and beans for protein, which slows sugar absorption. Breakfast might be a protein shake with some berries, or some eggs with tomatoes, spinach, cheese and avocado and some bacon, but no toast or pancakes or hash browns, which all increase your sugar load. Lunch or dinner might be salmon or chicken (protein and fat) over salad and veggies (fiber) with avocado (fat). And a great steak for dinner will help you feel satisfied and reduce your desire for carbs or dessert.
vitamin D level, and the level of your omega3s and maybe consider taking some natural supplements that help reduce stress or that help balance blood sugar. Monitoring carbs and choosing the healthiest of them is more important than eliminating all sweetness from your diet. A little sugary treat is fine, rarely. If you’re at a birthday party, for example, you can have a small slice of cake. Remember to substitute the cake for another starch you might eat, like a potato or a piece of bread. Remember that once you can stay off sugar and sweeteners for a few weeks by doing a sugar detox, you will have retrained your palate and you won’t even want as much sweetness. Try to indulge your sugar cravings naturally by choosing fruits, berries, and other sweet whole foods. Avoid bananas, pineapple, grapes and watermelon. Discover which fruits are low on the glycemic index. While these foods still have high sugar content, they also contain nutrients and fiber and can help to satisfy a sweet tooth, and once you give up most of your sugar, a good peach will taste like the sweetest dessert.
Lactose Intolerance Look Like? by Florence Murray o many, drinking milk is synonymous with homemade cookies and childhood. However, for many adults, drinking milk or eating ice cream is synonymous with stomach pains and feeling full. The symptoms of lactose intolerance usually begin 30 minutes to two hours after consuming dairy foods. The most common symptoms are: »» Abdominal cramps »» Diarrhea »» Nausea, sometimes even vomiting »» Bloating »» Gas Not surprisingly, many older children who are lactose intolerant will show up frequently at the school nurse’s office after lunch or in the late afternoon. It might even seem that the children do not like their classes in the afternoon; that maybe they are trying to get out of class so that they don’t have to do the work. So what causes these symptoms and who is at risk? It is caused by a deficiency of lactase—an enzyme produced by the small intestine—that results in the inability to fully digest the sugar (lactose) in dairy foods. The most common form is primary lactose intolerance, which is a result of rapidly decreasing lactase production so that ingestion of dairy products is difficult by adulthood. This type of lactose intolerance is genetically predetermined and occurs in a large
associated with a lowered lactase production. It can also occur in people who have had radiation therapy for cancer in the abdomen or have intestinal complications from chemotherapy. The good news for this group is that treatment of the underlying disease or disorder may eventually restore lactase levels. The rarest form is congenital or developmental lactose intolerance. The disorder occurs when a baby is born with a complete absence of lactase activity, and is passed on from generation to generation in a pattern of inheritance. However, for this form to occur both parents must pass on the same gene variant. It can also occur in premature infants because the small intestine does not develop lactase-producing cells until late into the third trimester.
proportion of people with African, Asian, Native American or Hispanic ancestry; and is also very common among those with Mediterranean or Southern European descent. Secondary lactose intolerance is less common and occurs when the small intestine decreases production after an illness, injury or surgery involving the small intestine. Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease and bacterial overgrowth are some of the diseases
cheese and ice cream, as do probiotics. Another natural way to get the probiotic/active cultures is with some yogurts. Look for acidophilus on the list of ingredients in yogurts, or pick it up at your drugstore or health food store. Quick tip: have yogurt before having ice cream so that the lactose is broken down naturally. Once you know the source of the problem, the solution is easy.
Craving milk or ice cream, but cannot tolerate it? There are options Although there is no way (yet) to boost production of lactase, eating small servings of dairy products in your regular meals can actually help to avoid the discomfort. In addition, lactose-free milk has come a long way. This milk now tastes like regular milk, instead of the sweet form it originally took 30 years ago when it was first developed. And, if you really want that ice cream, there are tablets you can chew with or close to the time you eat or drink dairy. Generally speaking, they work well with smaller quantities of
@LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 43
44 / LIVING SAFER / VOL 7 ED 4
F A M I LY
Does Your Child Need an
Internet Intervention? by Jim Edward
@LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 45
“Mom! Where’s my iPad?” “Who has a charger?” “Why is the wifi so slow?!” Any of these questions sound familiar? Today’s children are the tech-savviest the world has ever seen. They can swipe right, enter passwords and get to YouTube faster than you can pour a cup of coffee. So, it’s no surprise that more and more parents are finding they need to hold an Internet intervention on their children. Here, we highlight a number of signs to look for that may indictae an Internet intervention is needed, courtesy of Rita Templeton with Scary Mommy.
When you’re overly paranoid because your child is a little too into those “epic” pranking videos. You find yourself suspiciously eyeing the shower curtain and doing a thorough inspection before you use the sprayer in your kitchen sink.
When you just. Can’t. EVEN. You love chatting with your kiddos, but not when the sole subject matter is Minecraft, Five Nights at Freddy’s, Wizard 101, or any other game that makes you instantly glaze over. You start out with a friendly mention of something totally unrelated—like the weather—and suddenly creepers and zombies are involved. AGAIN. Like in EVERY OTHER CONVERSATION THIS WEEK.
When there’s not much “quality” in “quality time.” Grandma comes over for some bonding with the kids … but not even her homemade cookies can compete with computing. (And then you get to hear a lecture. Oh joy.)
When you spend $5,000 on a Disney vacation, only to have your kids stay in the hotel playing Minecraft the whole time.
When the end of screen time = the end of the world. You say, “Turn off the computer and let’s have dinner.” They hear, “I AM A MEAN AND HORRIBLE PARENT AND I AM ASKING YOU TO DO SOMETHING DREADFUL AND UNFAIR!” Bitter complaints ensue … from both sides.
When you find yourself asking, “Did that really happen?” You 4 listen intently as your kid rants about some dramatic event, and wonder what the heck actually goes on at school—until you realize he’s talking about a game.
46 / LIVING SAFER / VOL 7 ED 4
When screen time beats sleep time. You wake up at 2:30 in the morning to pee, and there’s your kid, staring into the glow of the computer screen like a dazed deer in the headlights. Is he still gaming, long after you told him to hit the sheets? Did he wake up specifically to get on the computer after-hours? It’s anybody’s guess, but you know this: getting him out of bed— once he finally gets there—is not going to be pleasant.
When there’s a shady search. Like a dutiful parent, you go through your child’s Internet search history from when he was supposed to be researching a science project. So far, it looks squeaky-clean: “how do plants make their own food,” “the process of photosynthesis” “what is chlorophyll” … and, oh. “Boobs.”
When acronyms find their way into actual speak. You ask your kid to take out the trash—and along with the requisite eye roll, there’s a huffy exclamation of “OMG” (or worse, FML). Seriously, child? SMDH.
When they’re practicing cyber-sneakiness. The lights are turned off, your kid is safely tucked into bed at a reasonable time, and you think the tablet is safely stowed away for the night—but hey, you don’t remember buying glow-in-thedark sheets …
The Challenges of Bullying by Florence Murray As a parent, it is heart-wrenching to discover that your child is a victim of bullying. The matter becomes that much worse when the school fails to understand what bullying looks like and how it must be addressed.
What is Bullying? Bullying may be physical, verbal, and/or emotional (exclusion). It is the result of an imbalance of power or strength and is often repeated and habitual. It may not even happen face-to-face. As we all now know, students can now use the Internet or cell phones to threaten or tease other students; cyberbullying may involve sharing nasty, even fake pictures or spreading lies. Unfortunately, continual emotional distress not only destroys a child’s self-esteem, but can create deficits in a child’s intellectual abilities, crippling the capacity to learn. Bullying is likely to interfere not only with children’s academic development, but also their social and personal development.
Generally, children who are bullied have one or more of the following risk factors: »» Are perceived as different from their peers, such as being overweight or underweight, wearing glasses or different clothing, being new to a school, or being unable to afford what kids consider “cool” »» Are perceived as weak or unable to defend themselves »» Are depressed, anxious, or have low self-esteem »» Are less popular than others and have few friends »» Do not get along well with others, are seen as annoying or provoking, or antagonize others for attention In order to help, we need to learn to recognize the signs of bullying, because children, including teenagers, might not ask for help when they need it. Understandably, bullying can make children feel helpless. They may want to handle it on their own to feel in control again. They also may fear being seen as weak or may fear backlash from the one who bullied them if adults intercede.
to go to school »» Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations »» Feelings of helplessness or decreased self-esteem »» Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide
Know Your Rights Most states have laws that define bullying and what steps need to be taken by a public school to reduce and eliminate bullying. For example, in Ohio, all school personnel are required to report prohibited incidents to the school and parents or guardians of all students involved in reported incidents of bullying have to be notified of any incidents. Schools must have a procedure for reporting incidents of bullying, a procedure for documenting any reports, and a procedure for responding to and investigating reports of bullying. But most importantly, schools must have a strategy for protecting a victim, or any person, who reports bullying from any new or additional harassment, intimidation, or bullying, and from retaliation following a report, including a means by which a person may report it anonymously. Regardless of the state or type of school, all students have the right to attend school in a safe environment. Whether your child attends public school or private school, all students are entitled to a learning environment free from harassment.
Signs a Child is Being Bullied: »» Unexplainable injuries »» Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry »» Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness »» Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch »» Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares »» Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting
Need More Information? Visit these websites for additional information and guidance:
@LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 47
Can Run the World, Too How to raise a strong female by Stephanie Andre s Beyonce would say, “Who runs the world? Girls.” That’s what I want my daughter to believe. I want her to not just believe—but know—that she really can “run the world” someday. That there is no glass ceiling because of her gender. I want her to be strong. To have an opinion—and a backbone. And to stick to her ideals and beliefs and not let anyone sway her. I want to raise a strong girl. A girl who will one day become a strong woman. But it’s going to be a challenge. According to a study from the New York University Child Study Center, at around age 10, girls’ focus starts to shift from their accomplishments and abilities to their appearance—and they never measure up to the models they see on TV, movies and ads. The study also cited the sexualization of girls as a key contributor, causing girls to see their self-worth as synonymous with their sexual appeal. The result is that they can become passive, self-conscious, appearance-obsessed and, ultimately, unhappy with themselves.
48 / LIVING SAFER / VOL 7 ED 4
So, what can parents do to build up a girl’s sense of self, while curbing feelings of self-doubt, no matter what her age? Take a peek below. Use these steps to help raise your own girl who can some day “run the world.”
Confidence Confident girls develop an attitude of “I can do this,” says Rachel Simmons, the author of several books, including “The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence”. As girls learn to rely on their own ability to make decisions, they grow more confident. Parents can help build up this quality, explains Simmons, by offering them opportunities to show they’re capable. For example, for a young daughter it might be tying her shoe; for a teen, perhaps it’s making the call to order takeout. Simmons cautions that parents sometimes avoid letting kids do these tasks because it’s easier, faster and maybe better when they do
These aren’t just physical muscles, but also emotional ones. “I don’t think we do a very good job with teens teaching them how to communicate,” says Simmons. “Just like you need to practice an instrument or a sport to get better, good communication is a skill.” You can help your daughter develop her communication muscles through building up her emotional vocabulary. When a girl is able to identify the emotions she’s experiencing, she’s better able to understand—and deal—with them. Parents can model this by making an effort to name their own feelings. Are you feeling anxious about an upcoming presentation at work? Or maybe excited about a vacation? Let your daughter in on your emotions, so she’ll begin to decipher her own.
No, your daughters shouldn’t be looking at the world through rose-colored glasses. But they also shouldn’t get in the habit of constantly putting themselves down. And this is where a girl’s age comes into play. According to researchers, “there’s a developmental shift at 8 years of age related to the adolescent brain.” Prior to that age, children don’t seem to be concerned with what other people think; they don’t tend to compare themselves with peers. But with the developmental shift, “kids pay more attention to their environment and start placing themselves in a hierarchy across their environment.” That can mean that they compare themselves based on their achievements, their looks, their friends. This development in research circles is often called a “loss of innocence” as children start dropping out of various activities because they don’t think they’re good at them. The shift doesn’t seem to be gender specific, but there is some evidence that girls seem to be shifting earlier than boys. Comparing yourself to others isn’t all bad. In fact, honestly evaluating your abilities and talents is an important quality. Yet it’s the honest evaluation where some girls can go wrong. They can either be too hard on themselves and “be overtaken with shame” at their lack of abilities, says Simmons. Or, they can “have a false sense of superiority.” Parents can guide girls to understand their own flaws and learn from them and to do regular “self checks.” These informal self-checks can take place during regular conversations you have with your daughter—at dinner or during a car ride. By teaching girls to evaluate themselves realistically on a regular basis, when those times do come when they have big mistakes—and they will—they won’t be devastating. Instead, she’ll understand that mistakes are a part of life, and how she
Resiliency From the time girls are little, we tend to focus as a culture on her looks. How many times have you heard, “she’s so pretty” or “look at that face.” So how do we build a resiliency in them? For starters, parents need to resist some of their own parental urges. Specifically, parents often want to rush in and help their daughters when they feel hurt. These hurt feelings can come from a variety of sources, from friendships that sour to a poor grade in school to any number of experiences. Although our mama bear instincts kick in, it’s important for girls to learn to deal with these hurts on their own. She gives the analogy of a bounce toy that, when it’s knocked down, is able to spring back up. Parents can instill this same ability to “bounce back” by prompting girls to come up with solutions on their own. Ask her to come up with two or three solutions to the problem. Talk her through the potential consequences with each scenario. Then let her decide—even if you don’t agree with her solution.
deals with them is what really matters.
Curiosity Why is curiosity important for a girl? She needs to ask questions about the world around her—and about herself. Guiding girls toward developing their sense of curiosity isn’t difficult. It’s simply a matter of encouraging girls to ask questions, which can in turn help them to develop new skills. When she asks “Why is the sky blue?” or “What kind of bug is that?,” research the answer online or in the library together. As she gets older, step back and let her research the answer on her own and then teach you what she’s learned. Figuring out her interests and abilities are also a part of curiosity. parents need to look beyond the easily named interests, such as sports and music performance. While developing skills in these areas can help a girl develop her sense of self, what about abilities that are more difficult to pinpoint, but that are part of your daughter’s makeup? Maybe she’s good at finding out how things work. Or perhaps she has an innate ability to tell when someone is feeling sad.
In a Harris poll for the national nonprofit organization Girls Incorporated, girls in grades 3-12 were asked about gender stereotypes, their quality of life, and their plans for the future. Their answers—and their parents’ comments—indicate that if anything, life for girls today is more difficult than it used to be.
52% of girls said people think girls are only interested in love and romance.
59% o f girls said girls are told not to brag about things they do well.
62% of girls said in school, boys think they have a right to discuss girls’ bodies in public.
@LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 49
Kindergarten behavior linked to adult success by Lily Grace rom an early age, we’re led to believe our grades and test scores are the key to everything—namely, going to college, getting a job, and finding the path to lifelong happiness and prosperity. But a new study shows that when children learn to interact effectively with their peers and control their emotions, it can have an enormous impact on how their adult lives take shape. And according to the study, kids should be spending more time on these skills in school. In fact, children who share easily, resolve problems on their own, and cooperate with their peers are less likely to drop out of school, commit crimes, or need government assistance, according to a report in the American Journal of Public Health. In some cases, the researchers found that these “social competence” measures were more meaningful than other evaluations that—on the surface—would seem to have a more obvious connection to life outcomes. For example, measures of childhood aggression did not significantly predict later criminal activity. For every one-point increase on a five-point scale, children were twice as likely to earn a college degree; 54% more likely to earn a high school diploma, and 46% more likely to have a full-time job. On the down side, for every one-point decrease, a child was 67% more likely to have been arrested by adulthood, and 82% more likely to be in or on a waiting list for public housing. The paper, “Early Social-Emotional Functioning and Public Health: The Relationship Between Kindergarten
Social Competence and Future Wellness,” was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The foundation wrote an executive summary to accompany the socialcompetence findings. The findings come from a study of about 750 youngsters who were tracked from 1991, when they were in kindergarten, until they turned 25. The children were from four communities—Durham, N.C.; Nashville, Tenn.; rural Pennsylvania; and Seattle. About 58 percent were boys, half were white, 46 percent were black, and 4 percent were from other ethnic backgrounds. The children were part of the Fast Track Project, which was measuring the effectiveness of an early-intervention
50 / LIVING SAFER / VOL 7 ED 4
program. Some children received the intervention, which focused on academic and social-skills development, and some children did not. For this report, the researchers wanted to separate out the effects of the intervention. So, they focused on children in the control group, who were believed to be at risk for behavior problems, but who were intentionally excluded from the Fast Track program so that they could serve as a comparison group. The researchers also included a set of “normative” children included in the Fast Track study. Those children didn’t show any risk factors, but they attended the same schools as the Fast Track children. One implication from the research is that an easy-to-administer measure can alert teachers and parents to problems early, before they compound throughout a child’s life, Jones said. Another important point, he said, is that these social-competence skills are malleable. Intervening early to help children gain social competence could be valuable not just for a child’s academic career, but for life outcomes outside of school.
How to Protect Your Kids from
Window Falls by Wayne Parsons
@LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 51
he Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) lists falls as the leading cause of nonfatal injuries to children under 19 years of age. For children under 1 year of age, falls account for more than half of the nonfatal injuries. “From 1990 through 2008, an estimated 98,415 children were treated in US hospital EDs for injuries attributable to a fall from a window, with an average of 5,180 patients per year,” states the article, “Pediatric Injuries Attributable to Falls from Windows in the United States in 1990–2008,” published in Pediatrics. In “Evidence Informed Practice to Prevent Pediatric Window Falls,” Brian Johnston MD/MPH wrote in May 2014 that boys in the 2- to 4-year age range were most likely to fall. New York City had 123 deaths in 1965 to 1969 and in 1972 created a pilot program “Children Can’t Fly” in the South Bronx that combined public education and distribution of fall protection devices. In 1974-75, child window falls decreased by 30%. In 1976, the local code was changed, requiring owners of multi-unit dwellings to provide window guards in apartments where children under 11 years reside. Since 1979, that law resulted in a 96% decrease in window fall related injuries. Boston followed in 1993 with the “Kids Can’t Fly” program that coupled public education with window guard distribution. This voluntary effort financially supported by building landlords and the city targeted buildings where children under 6 years of age reside, and resulted in an 83% reduction in window related death/injury since 1993. Chicago created “Stop the Falls” in 2002 with similar success in drastically reducing falls. It focused on “stop at four” to increase window opening limiters. Minneapolis followed in 2006 with “Laela’s Law,” which requires safety screens, guards or fall-prevention devices to be placed on new or replacement windows installed above the first story for multi-unit buildings. In the 1950s, windows were made of wood and screens were heavy and fixed in place. Starting in the 1960s, windows were made of plastics and screens were light and weak. The frame of the modern window screen can easily pop out with little pressure. Small children are attracted to window openings, particularly in the warm months. There are a variety of devices available that can be installed on existing windows to prevent child window falls. The best method is to install a safety window screen that has strong wire and won’t pop out. The Department of Defense code UFC 4-7.2 states “[w]indows above ground floor should have screens capable of withstanding a minimum force of 60 pounds (27kg) as a concentrated load applied to the middle of the screen.” Lansing Housing Products Inc. in Lansing, Iowa, makes a stainless steel screen that not only will prevent children from falling but will pay for itself over time since it does not require maintenance or rescreening as most common screens do. Other window fall protection devices include “window opening control devices” (WOCDs) that stop the window from opening wider than four inches; and, “window guards” that allow the window to be opened fully but place bars across the opening that are four inches apart. The “Guardian Angel Window Guard”
52 / LIVING SAFER / VOL 7 ED 4
manufactured by Automatic Specialties, Inc. from Marlborough, Mass., is such a device. Every device should comply with ASTM F2090 specification, which applies to window fall protection devices that target accidental falls from windows by children five years old and younger. It Includes window guards, safety screens and WOCDs. Do not be misled by “myths” that these devices somehow violate the fire codes and pose a risk of death or injury in the event of a fire. They are fully fire code compliant and pose no risk to children or other occupants of the house. Fireman can easily gain entry from the outside and in the event of a fire, a 4-year-old is not going to exit the room through a second floor window on their own. Of course, keeping beds and other furniture away from windows is also a good thing to do, but children will find ways to climb up to the window and so a better solution is needed. And remember that even if no children live in the residence, other children or grandchildren may be in the house visiting, and can be at risk. Grandparents should make sure their windows are protected. This article is dedicated to Evan English and other children like 5-year-old Evan who have perished in a window fall incident through a window in his home that did not have fall protection.
@LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 53
How to Choose the Right Mattress by Craig Kelley hat is one of the biggest back killing habits being practiced everywhere? It is sleeping on a mattress that is too old or wrong for you. For the ordinary, basically pain-free person it is suggested that the mattress not be used longer than about nine or 10 years, but if a person has issues with the spine, or wants to prevent those issues, it is recommended that one buy a new mattress every five to seven years, with five years showing the best results of better sleep and less spinal pain. Some experts recommend that consumers not go too hard or too soft with a mattress, but to hit that comfort sweet spot with a mattress choice in the medium to firm range. Savvy, intelligent folks, who would be first in line at a favorite hobbyâ€™s gear retailer, forget that one third of life is spent sleeping so the right sleeping gear is just as, if not more important. Spinal pain is a big deal in todayâ€™s society with all the sitting at jobs, hard labor, fitness pursuits, action packed, risk-taking sports, motor
54 / LIVING SAFER / VOL 7 ED 4
vehicle accidents, aging, and a myriad of other variables contributing to pain starting and becoming chronic. Sometimes the mattress itself is one of those variables causing the pain and this fact is just not taken seriously. A big factor in selecting a mattress customized for the best sleep and spinal needs is the idea that one size fits all. Facing
facts brings one to what may be the elephant in the room in some homes that a person weighing well over 200 pounds or more is not going to feel a mattress the same way that a person who weighs much less. This can be a problem for people of different sizes sharing the same bed, but thankfully there are many options out there, such as each side of a bed having customizable features for the person sleeping on that side. A very popular option is the bed that looks like a king size bed but is made up of two adjustable separate beds that allow for each person to truly customize and choose whether they sleep flat or move the mattress into different positional settings. This is a feature once thought to be exclusive to the hospital bed, but now is available to the masses. It is common sense to at least assure that people sharing a bed pick that bed together to assure custom personal preferences can be met in the best ways possible. It needs to be understood that comfort and support are not the
same thing, so there needs to be a good balance of support and conformability. The mattress should allow the natural curve of the human spine to be aligned in its proper curve and allow all parts of the body to be supported properly. If this criterion is not met, parts of the body will experience great pressure and pain will ensue. It is a grave mistake to believe the spine is straight or up and down, so whether one picks coils/innerspring, memory foam, adjustable air, or gel, it is important that a mattress is picked to allow for that natural curve. Be aware that different mattress manufacturers use different terms to describe their mattress makeup and also their opinion on firmness, softness, and medium firmness. When mattress shopping, it is recommended that one wear comfortable clothes and not be shy about actually getting in there and trying those mattresses out for at least five minutes for each sleep position. There are also mattress companies who give a comfort guarantee that allows the consumer to use the mattress at home for around 30 days to try it out. If going with this option, however, it is good to check out the possible accompanying fees, such as pick-up fees, shipping fees, usage fees, and restocking fees. It is also wise to go into mattress buying after careful research to avoid overwhelmed pressures in choosing the best mattress or buying the preferred mattress of a salesperson or store promotion. Finally, it is imperative that one understand that a mattress is truly an investment in oneâ€™s well-being and health, so not an item to skimp on. There are many options that can offer savings in retail and factory direct settings. Get out there and begin your spine care or rehabilitation with your best bed!
@LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 55
DOs & DON’Ts DIETING
by Brittany Monbarren
Find positive support.
Find healthy alternatives to your favorite “guilty pleasure” foods.
Keep a food journal.
Set unrealistic expectations.
Drink plenty of water.
Focus solely on your weight.
Watch your portions.
Plan your meals in advance.
@LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 56
The Ins and Outs of Structured Attorney Fees by John T. Bair For attorneys who want to create a supplemental retirement fund, manage the cash flow of their law firm, or protect themselves from being bumped into a higher tax bracket, structured attorney fees should be considered as a viable investment option.
Can I elect to do a fee structure if my client elects to receive their settlement proceeds in a lump sum? In most cases, you may structure your fees regardless of what your client decides to do.
In Richard A. Childs, Et al. v Commissioner of Internal Revenue, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed that attorneys who elect to structure their fees will not have to pay taxes on those payments until the year the income is received. This allows attorneys to spread out their income, rather than getting hit with a large tax bill in one year.
What if I worked on the case with another attorney? Am I still eligible? Yes, you can still structure your fees. The stream of payments can be split among more than one attorney. Should more than one decide to structure, each gets their own unique payment schedule.
At what point do I need to decide to structure my fees? You must elect to structure your fees prior to settlement; it must be included in the settlement agreement. You can’t have constructive receipt of the money to be structured. It should be paid to the life insurance company via an assignment company. What factors should I consider? There are a number of factors to take into account when deciding whether or not to do an attorney fee structure:
Is an attorney fee structure flexible? Yes. You should choose a plan that best fits your individual needs. How is the structure funded? It can be funded with an annuity from a highly rated life insurance company, providing the attorney with fixed payments. Certain firms also offer a product that uses a Single Premium Immediate Annuity (SPIA) to purchase a whole-life insurance policy, which may offer a greater return than a traditional annuity. How are payments made? Payments can be made either to you or to your firm. Fee payments can be affected by a number of factors, including the type of incorporation the firm has (e.g. LLC, PC, etc.), dissolution plans of the firm, tax advantage, etc.
»» Age »» Health »» Present financial needs and goals »» Future needs and goals (college, retirement, etc.) »» Tax bracket »» Risk tolerance
ABOUT OUR FIRM
737 Main Street Suite 100 Buffalo, NY 14203 (716) 883-1833 (855) 836-2676 www.milestoneseventh.com
Disclaimer: Milestone Consulting, LLC does not provide legal or tax advice. Please consult an attorney and/or estate planning expert if you have questions regarding the legal or tax implications of your structured attorney fees.
Milestone Consulting, LLC is a comprehensive settlement planning and management firm. We believe that injured plaintiffs and their families deserve strategies designed to ensure a lifetime of financial security. Our consultants are licensed in all fifty states to provide guidance on settlementrelated issues including government benefits preservation, trust planning, Medicare Set-Asides, wealth preservation and annuities. We also provide mediation support to assist the plaintiff in reaching a settlement that will meet their present and
future medical and financial needs. In addition to our work with plaintiffs and trial attorneys, we actively support a number of civil justice organizations, including The Injury Board, the American Association for Justice, the Workers’ Injury Law and Advocacy Group, and statewide associations in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit our website at www.milestoneseventh.com.
Myths, old wives tales and half-truths continue to have a place in our daily lives. And as generations continue to tell tales, we have to as...
Published on Jan 6, 2016
Myths, old wives tales and half-truths continue to have a place in our daily lives. And as generations continue to tell tales, we have to as...